Romania arrests two for online Dutch housing market fraud
Authorities in Romania arrested two people accused of duping prospective rental tenants on the difficult Dutch housing market with fake online housing advertisements. The two allegedly tricked people into paying money up front to secure an apartment sight unseen.
“They were involved in large-scale online fraud in the housing market in the Netherlands since 2015. The suspects posted fake advertisements for apartments for rent on online platforms and convinced hundreds of victims to pay one or two months’ rent without first visiting the property,” said Eurojust in a statement.
“By communicating via messenger systems, the suspects managed to remain anonymous and the payments were forwarded to bank accounts in various countries to conceal and launder the proceeds of the crimes.”
Authorities seized a large amount of cash, as well as telephones and computer devices. Two houses were searched as part of the investigation, which was carried out by police in the Romanian city Râmnicu Vâlcea, prosecutors in Romania, the Dutch public prosecution service, and Dutch police.
Once identified, the Dutch authorities requested a European Arrest Warrant so the suspects can be prosecuted in the Netherlands, Eurojust said. The European Union agency helps coordinate cross-border criminal investigations involving multiple EU member states.